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- Other Names: Broken-heart syndrome, Transient apical ballooning syndrome, Apical ballooning cardiomyopathy,Stress-induced cardiomyopathy, Gebrochenes-Herz-Syndrom, and Stress cardiomyopathy.
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is a type of non-ischaemic cardiomyopathy in which there is a sudden temporary weakening of the myocardium. Because this weakening can be triggered by emotional stress, It occurs as the response of the heart to sudden, intense emotional stress such as the death of a spouse; rejection at the workplace; acute fear; or uncontrolled anger. These intense emotions can cause immediate breathlessness or strokes. The broken heart can occur simultaneously or a few minutes later. Stress cardiomyopathy is a well-recognized cause of acute heart failure, lethal ventricular arrhythmias, and ventricular rupture.
Around ten years ago, there were a few high profile deaths in young people. They were diagnosed as having died from a “broken heart”. Now, a broken heart or stunned myocardium syndrome is a documented condition.
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy or Broken heart syndrome symptoms can mimic a heart attack.The symptoms are similar to a heart attack – chest pain, sweating, giddiness or dizziness, nausea, vomiting, weakness and palpitations. Blood pressure may drop. Heart failure may develop.
Any long-lasting or persistent chest pain could be a sign of a heart attack, so it’s important to take it seriously and call your doctor if you experience chest pain.
The exact cause of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is not very clear. It is thought that a surge of stress hormones, such as adrenaline, might temporarily damage the hearts of some people. How these hormones might hurt the heart or whether something else is responsible isn’t completely clear. A temporary constriction of the large or small arteries of the heart may play a role.
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is often preceded by an intense physical or emotional event. Some potential triggers are:
*News of an unexpected death of a loved one
*A frightening medical diagnosis
*Losing a lot of money
*A surprise party
*Having to perform publicly
*Physical stressors, such as an asthma attack, a car accident or major surgery
It’s also possible that some drugs, rarely, may cause broken heart syndrome by causing a surge of stress hormones. Drugs that may contribute to broken heart syndrome include:
*Epinephrine (EpiPen, EpiPen Jr), which is used to treat severe allergic reactions or a severe asthma attack
*Duloxetine (Cymbalta), a medication given to treat nerve problems in people with diabetes, or as a treatment for depression
*Venlafaxine (Effexor XR), which is a treatment for depression
*Levothyroxine (Synthroid, Levoxyl), a drug given to people whose thyroid glands don’t work properly
Differances between Takotsubo cardiomyopathy and hear attack are:
Heart attacks are generally caused by a complete or near complete blockage of a heart artery. This blockage is due to a blood clot forming at the site of narrowing from fatty buildup (atherosclerosis) in the wall of the artery. In Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, the heart arteries are not blocked, although blood flow in the arteries of the heart may be reduced.
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy or Transient apical ballooning syndrome is found in 1.7–2.2% of patients presenting with acute coronary syndrome. While the original case studies reported on individuals in Japan, Takotsubo cardiomyopathy has been noted more recently in the United States and Western Europe. It is likely that the syndrome went previously undiagnosed before it was described in detail in the Japanese literature.
The diagnosis of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy may be difficult upon presentation. The ECG findings are often confused with those found during an acute anterior wall myocardial infarction. It classically mimics ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, and is characterised by acute onset of transient ventricular apical wall motion abnormalities (ballooning) accompanied by chest pain, dyspnea, ST-segment elevation, T-wave inversion or QT-interval prolongation on ECG. Elevation of myocardial enzymes is moderate at worst and there is absence of significant coronary artery disease.
The diagnosis is made by the pathognomonic wall motion abnormalities, in which the base of the left ventricle is contracting normally or is hyperkinetic while the remainder of the left ventricle is akinetic or dyskinetic. This is accompanied by the lack of significant coronary artery disease that would explain the wall motion abnormalities. Although apical ballooning has been classically described as the angiographic manifestation of takotsubo, it has been shown that left ventricular dysfunction in this syndrome includes not only the classic apical ballooning, but also different angiographic morphologies such as mid-ventricular ballooning and rarely local ballooning of other segments.
The ballooning patterns were classified by Shimizu et al. as takotsubo type for apical akinesia and basal hyperkinesia, reverse takotsubo for basal akinesia and apical hyperkinesia, mid-ventricular type for mid-ventricular ballooning accompanied by basal and apical hyperkinesia and localised type for any other segmental left ventricular ballooning with clinical characteristics of takotsubo-like left ventricular dysfunction.
The ECG changes are atypical, with imprecise changes in the ST segment and T waves. They are “suspicious of but non conclusive” of myocardial infraction. Blood tests for the enzyme creatine kinase and proteins troponin should be done. These are elevated in a heart attack. In a stunned heart, these results too are inconclusive. The echocardiogram is the clincher. The heart is ballooned out. This change occurs typically at the apex of the heart. It is important to make a distinction between heart attack and takotsubo as the medication is different.
The treatment for takotsubo is mainly supportive. Medication is given to remove fluid from the lungs and prevent clots. Recovery occurs within a few days.
About two per cent of people who were thought to have a heart attack actually had broken hearts. In the case of women, this increases to seven per cent. Women, mainly menopausal ones (60-75 years), have “broken hearts” eight to nine times more often than men. Some people are genetically prone to “broken hearts.” Depression plays a role in susceptibility to this condition. Recurrences can occur in 10 per cent of people.
People who are in poor physical condition do not need severe emotional stress to suffer a broken heart. An episode may be precipitated by a minor event like rejection, or even a lecture or talk before an audience.
In order to never develop this condition; it is important to develop metal and physical toughness. Walking for 40-60 minutes a day at a brisk pace exposes the heart to small doses of adrenaline and nor adrenaline in a controlled manner. The heart gets conditioned and is immune to sudden chemical surges. Meditation and yoga provide calmness and the mental strength to cope with good days and bad.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.